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Jean Baudrillard - Radical Thought

Jean Baudrillard - Radical Thought



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Published by: giotaba on Oct 04, 2009
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Jean Baudrillard - Radical Thought
Translated by Francois DebrixTranslated by Francois Debrix
Sens & Tonka, eds., Collection Morsure, Paris, 1994
INCLUDEPICTURE"http://www.egs.edu/images/main/spacer.gif" \*MERGEFORMATINET
The novel is a work of art not so much because of itsinevitable resemblance with life but because of theinsuperable differences that distinguish it from life.- Stevenson
And so is
thought! Thought is not so much prized for itsinevitable convergences with truth as it is for the insuperabledivergences that separate the two.
It is not
true that in order to live one has to believe in one'sown existence. There is no necessity to that. No matter what,our consciousness is never the echo of our own reality, of anexistence set in "real time." But rather it is its echo in "delayedtime," the screen of the dispersion of the subject and of itsidentity - only in our sleep, our unconscious, and our death arewe identical to ourselves. Consciousness, which is totallydifferent from belief, is more spontaneously the result of achallenge to reality, the result of accepting objective illusionrather than objective reality. This challenge is more vital to oursurvival and to that of the human species than the belief inreality and in existence, which always refers to spiritualconsolations pertaining to another world. Our world is such as
it is, but that does not make it more real in any respect. "Themost powerful instinct of man is to be in conflict with truth, andwith the real."
The belief in
truth is part of the elementary forms ofreligious life. It is a weakness of understanding, of common-sense. At the same time, it is the last stronghold for thesupporters of morality, for the apostles of the legality of thereal and the rational, according to whom the reality principlecannot be questioned. Fortunately, nobody, not even thosewho teach it, lives according to this principle, and for a goodreason: nobody really believes in the real. Nor do they believein the evidence of real life. This would be too sad.
But the good
apostles come back and ask: how can youtake away the real from those who already find it hard to liveand who, just like you and me, have a right to claim the realand the rational? The same insidious objection is proclaimedin the name of the Third World: How can you take awayabundance when some people are starving to death? Orperhaps: How can you take away the class struggle from allthe peoples that never got to enjoy their Bourgeois revolution?Or again: How can you take away the feminist and egalitarianaspirations from all the women that have never heard ofwomen's rights? If you don't like reality, please do not makeeverybody else disgusted with it! This is a question ofdemocratic morality: Do not let Billancourt despair!HYPERLINK"http://www.egs.edu/faculty/baudrillard/baudrillard-radical-thought.html" \l "note1#note1"
You can never let peopledespair.
There is a
profound disdain behind these charitableintentions. This disdain first lies in the fact that reality isinstituted as a sort of life-saving insurance, or as a perpetualconcession, as if it were the last of human rights or the first ofeveryday consumer products. But, above all, byacknowledging that people place their hope in reality only, andin the visible proof of their existence, by giving them a realismreminiscent of St. Sulpice, they are depicted as naive andidiotic. This disdain, let us acknowledge it, is first imposed onthemselves by these defenders of realism, who reduce theirown life to an accumulation of facts and proofs, of causes andeffects. After all, a well-structured resentment always stemsfrom one's own experience.
Say: I am
real, this is real, the world is real, and nobodylaughs. But say: this is a simulacrum, you are only asimulacrum, this war is a simulacrum, and everybody burstsout laughing. With a condescending and yellow laughter, orperhaps a convulsive one, as if it was a childish joke or anobscene invitation. Anything which belongs to the order ofsimulacrum is obscene or forbidden, similar to that whichbelongs to sex or death. However, our belief in reality andevidence is far more obscene. Truth is what should belaughed at. One may dream of a culture where everyonebursts into laughter when someone says: this is true, this isreal.
All this defines
the insoluble relationship between thoughtand the real. A certain type of thought is an accomplice of thereal. It starts with the hypothesis that there is a real referenceto an idea and that there is a possible "ideation" of reality. This

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